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San Antonio Independent School District Welcome New Additions
Current and former students, community members, and San Antonio Schools staff gathered in the historic Douglass Academy Auditorium on September 26 for a welcome celebration and dedication ceremony to mark the completion of a Major construction and renovation project at the school.
“Douglass Academy has a rich history and tradition. Our children here have inherited that history and have the potential to become everything they want to be,” District Superintendent Dr. Robert J. Durón said on stage where the caption recounted. that Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and BB King once performed.
With $9.3 million from the San Antonio Independent School District’s 1997 Bond Program, improvements to the school included renovations to the classrooms in the three-story school built in 1915, the auditorium and the gymnasium. A building that previously served as a vocation store was remodeled into a library.
The new construction added a wing with classrooms, a kitchen and a cafeteria to this San Antonio school. Two courtyards, a central tower that houses an elevator and a stairway connect the old with the new to facilitate accessibility.
With a total square foot of 73,692, the facility accommodates 450 students, including those in the Life Strides and Early Childhood programs.
The original hardwood flooring and auditorium seating were carefully restored and reinstalled at this San Antonio school by District Plant Services teams. The stage and walls were also repainted.
“Not only do we have new things that we’re excited about, but we’re also honoring so much of the history of this school,” said Melanie Herr-Zepeda, principal.
Colors, tiles, and wall textures throughout the campus express the African-American and Mexican-American cultures of the neighborhood surrounding this San Antonio school. “This school is truly rich in history. We are honoring the neighborhood as it is now while also honoring where this school came from,” Herr-Zepeda added.
Douglass Academy traces its origins to 1869 when it was opened for the children of freed African-American slaves in what is now downtown San Antonio. In 1902 it was named after the anti-slavery orator and statesman. The school moved as a high school to its current site in 1915. It became a high school in 1932.
Beginning in 1970, Douglass served as a school for grades 3 through 5. In 2002, while students attended Burnet Elementary’s old campus on Barrera St., the school expanded to include pre-kindergarten through second grade. In 2004, sixth grade was added, making the school a Pre-K-6 academy. Students and staff returned to their original campus when the construction project was completed in August.
New school yet to be named
San Antonio Independent School District trustees and district leaders join students from Foster and Schenck elementary schools at groundbreaking Sept. 21 for SAISD’s newest campus, located in the 9200 block from South Presa Street. The first school established by the District in 40 years, the new academy will serve the educational needs of a growing student population in SAISD’s southeastern sector.
The planned two-story academy, yet to be named, will accommodate 750 students from pre-K through eighth grade on the 18-acre site. The building will have an exterior design reminiscent of nearby historic missions. The early grades at this San Antonio school will have elementary-level playgrounds and learning spaces equipped for instruction, physical education, and music. Upper grade classrooms will include an art room, science labs, and two music rooms with acoustic areas for band, choir, orchestra, or mariachi.
Plans for San Antonio’s newest school also include a competition gym with locker rooms for boys and girls, practice fields for soccer, a multi-use field, computer labs, a library, and a cafeteria for various school activities. . The cost of the construction project will be $20.6 million financed with interest earned from the District’s bond programs. The school will serve families in the new Mission Creek subdivision and nearby neighborhoods where students currently attend Foster and Schenck elementary schools and Connell Middle School.
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